IBF champion Teofimo Lopez taking on WBA and WBO titleholder Vasily Lomachenko was one of the biggest fights everyone in boxing was looking forward to in the lightweight division. The unification bout between the two was initially slated to take place sometime around Memorial Day weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
With the COVID-19 pandemic taking shape, this fight, like so many other bouts slated in the short term, are all being delayed or pushed back.
Lopez speaking with Boxingscene.com Friday stated that the contract for the bout hadn’t been finalized yet, and we’ll have to wait and see when the fight takes place after the COVID-19 subsides.
“It’s not gonna be May 30 no more,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com in an interview on Friday. “It’ll be a whole new date. You’ve gotta think about it. They sent Lomachenko back home to Ukraine. And usually, us as fighters, we get ready within a two-month span, which would be right now. They don’t know when this thing is gonna be over. It could be over in April, and then you’ve gotta think it would be pushed back to June.
⏪12.8.18 ⏪ Before he was a world champ, he climbed the Lightweight rankings with devastating knockouts like this. A one-punch, one-way ticket straight to the canvas 🤯 @TeofimoLopez | @HuluTheaterMSG pic.twitter.com/DlKMg4suIV
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) March 15, 2020
“No matter what, put two, maybe 2½ months [after] that time,” Lopez continued. “Some people expect September or October, maybe even November. They expect Wilder-Fury to happen in October, November. Same thing with Loma-Lopez. We’ve just gotta wait and see, honestly.”
Heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury were expected to have their third bout on July 18 after Wilder invoked his rematch clause. That will be pushed back, as well as the MGM Garden Arena, much like the entire Las Vegas casino strip closed down at the beginning of the week amid COVID concerns.
As this continues, we won’t have a time table for any live boxing whatsoever until it clears up.
Lopez himself was getting ready for the bout. Once the pandemic hit, Lomachenko was sent back home to his native Ukraine since he was concerned about the travel restrictions, which would prevent him from being with his family during all of this.
“We were getting close to camp,” Lopez said. “But this happened, and they sent Lomachenko back to be with his family, which I totally understand. At times like these, you wanna be as close to your family as much as possible. But once this goes away, we can get the ball rolling again and make the fight happen. Obviously, the fans win when they get to see this fight in action.
We all will win once this fight takes place and is back on the fight calendar later this year. It is worth noting that this fight was hinted at being on pay-per-view in May. But like any fight at this point, it’s uncertain if that will remain the case when it is agreed upon for later this summer.